HC Deb 22 February 1856 vol 140 cc1221-3

On the Motion that the House at its rising should adjourn till Monday,


said, he would take that opportunity of asking the noble Lord the Member for London, whether he had any objection to give some further explanation of the course he intended to take with respect to his Education Resolutions? He (Sir John Pakington) could not help thinking that the course which the noble Lord intimated last night he intended to take was unusual, and likely to be attended with some inconvenience. At the commencement of the Session, the noble Lord intimated that, in consequence of the difficulty which independent Members felt in proposing Bills, he thought the most convenient course for him to take would be to move Resolutions and call on the House to pronounce an opinion on them; and, when the noble Lord gave his notice yesterday, he (Sir J. Pakington) hoped the noble Lord was going to take that course. But the noble Lord mentioned that on Thursday week he would only make a statement, and not call on the House to pronounce any opinion. Now, that appeared to him to be an unusual course, and might have the effect of creating apprehension among those who took an interest in the subject that the matter would be again indefinitely postponed. All that he desired was, that the House should come to some sound conclusion on the subject, and he therefore wished to know whether the noble Lord had any understanding with the Government as to the further progress of his Resolutions, or in what way he proposed to call on the House to pronounce an opinion on them?


said, that the right hon. Gentleman had entirely misunderstood what he had stated on the previous evening. He certainly did not intend to state that he did not mean to ask for the opinion of the House on his Resolutions when the proper opportunity came, but that he did not mean to do so on the 6th of March, because, as there were several Resolutions, it would be hardly fair to ask the House to come immediately to a decision on the subject. But, after placing the Resolutions on the table of the House, and of course moving the first one as a matter of form, he should propose to postpone them till a future day. He certainly had no understanding with the Government as to the day when he should again bring them under consideration, but he recollected that, when the late Sir Robert Peel brought forward the Controverted Elections Bill, he (Lord J. Russell), being then in the Government, gave the right hon. Baronet a Government day for the purpose. If, happily, the negotiations to Paris should end in peace, no subject to which the House could turn its attention could be of greater importance than that of education, and be should then, not pressing the Government, of course, to give him a day while urgent business was coming on, which the affairs of the country might render it desirable to be immediately discussed, request the noble Lord at the head of the Government to consent that, at a certain time, those Resolutions should be taken into consideration—discussed from day to day until the House pronounced an opinion on the subject. He trusted that that course would be satisfactory to the right hon. Gentleman opposite, whose wishes he should wish to consult, as he had taken so great an interest in the subject.